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Robert Raleigh
Layabout, gouk, barmie, blaggard.
Layabout, gouk, barmie, blaggard.

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Ruminations on the Lord of the Rings (Books and Movies)
I recently re-watched the first two Lord of the Rings movies. I've read the books several times, though not recently. Watching the movies brought back some of my conflicted feelings about the books: Tolkien is a great story teller. No doubt about that. Part...

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Please join me in petitioning President Obama to require that the FCC develop a plan for TRUE net neutrality, rather than turning the Internet into a two-tiered information highway—a fast lane for big businesses, and slow lane for the rest of us.

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Interesting piece about addiction, contrasting AA with the science on the subject.

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The ultimate battle of fire and ice! Who will win, the sun or Comet #ISON

Join #NASA as we follow the journey of Comet ISON as it slingshots around the sun. 

Will the awesome gravity and energy of the sun break up this cosmic ball of ice and rock? Will it break up? Or will it pass the sun intact to put on a dazzling show in the December sky? 

Watch as NASA solar physicists track the comet LIVE from the mission control for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory,@NASA_SDO, during #ISON’s closest approach to the sun. 

We'll also be joined by comet scientists joining from Kitt Peak Observatory in Arizona, where the solar telescope will be observing ISON and by science writer Phil Plait.

NASA scientists will answer your questions LIVE on air here on Google+, in the YouTube comments section during the live broadcast, or via Twitter using #ISON and #askNASA.

The participants in this Hangout include:

• C. Alex Young, Solar Physicist, Associate Director for Science in the Heliophysics Science Division and co-founder of The Sun Today - NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.,

• W. Dean Pesnell, Solar Physicist and Project Scientist for the Solar Dynamics Observatory - NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.,

• Karl Battams, Comet Scientist for the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC, and solar spacecraft lead for NASA's Comet ISON Observing Campaign, joining from Kitt Peak Observatory in Arizona, where the solar telescope will be observing ISON. 

• Phil Plait, writes Slate's 'Bad Astronomy' blog and is an astronomer, science evangelizer, and author of the books "Bad Astronomy" and "Death from the Skies!"

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I won candy on the #googlebirthday doodle! Score: 171

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Allow me to strongly recommend against reading this book, 7 Tipping Points that Saved the World. I received it as a Christmas present. It's supposedly about seven great moments in history that led to some of the political freedoms enjoyed today. One of the seven "tipping points" is the discovery of the New World. Why? Because it started a huge infusion of gold, silver, cash crops (sugar, tobacco, etc.) and food crops that helped Old World monarchies defeat the Ottoman Empire. There's literally NOT A SINGLE WORD about the many millions of indigenous Americans who were killed, enslaved, or died of disease due to the European conquest of the Americas. The deaths of 50 million people (to use a conservative estimate) are apparently not even worth mentioning, as the only noteworthy aspect is the wealth that revitalized European monarchies, allowing them to oppress their own populations and kills lots of Muslims. This is what qualifies as one of the great moments in the history of freedom?

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Just bought access so I can download the debate.

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My blog post about my review of a book about whether Mitt Romney's Mormonism should play a role in deciding whether to vote for him.
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